Modi denies demonetization was a failure

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today denied that the withdrawal of high-value currency notes was a failure. Speaking in the lower house of Parliament today, Modi said demonetization has created a money trail that can be used to ‘bring everyone into the mainstream’ of taxation. “You know how it used to be in the old days.. Income tax officials would go on raids and you know what would happen then. I don’t need to give historical details,” said Modi. “With demonetization, there is a clear trail — what came from where,…

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Kerala government doctor goes behind the veil to teach Muslim women

A government doctor in Kerala has come under criticism on social media for taking a Polio vaccination awareness class for women from behind a veil. According to local media reports, nearly 100 women participated in the thinly veiled awareness drive conducted by a medical superintendent of the government hospital at Nileswaram in Kasargode district in North Kerala. The area has a high proportion of Muslims, which may have prompted the organizers to hang a curtain between the stage and the audience. Given that curtains are lifted before most stage programs in Kerala, Sunday’s…

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Siddhu on joining Congress: No party is good or bad!

Navjot Singh Siddhu, the cricketer turned politician and a vehement critic of the Indian National Congress for several years, justified his decision to join the party saying that no party, by itself, is good or bad. “No party is good or bad. The same party can be run by bad people, the same party can be run by good people,” he said. He said he was willing to forget past issues in the interest of the people. “They’ve been criticizing me. Nitishji has been critizing Laluji. They’ve formed a government….

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Katju says SP will defeat BJP in UP Elections; Demonetization, Akhilesh to aid

Former Supreme Court judge and a keen observer of Indian politics, Markandey Katju has predicted a win for the Samajwadi Party led by Akhilesh Yadav in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. BJP, which is seen as a strong contender by many, would be negatively impacted due to the impact of demonetization and the clean image projected by SP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav. Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party, which is also seen as a likely contender, will also fail as it will not be able to attract the required Muslim votes,…

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UP POLLS: BSP gives most number of seats to Upper Castes; Muslims second

Bahujan Samaj Party has allocated the highest block of candidacies for the upcoming elections to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly to upper caste Hindus, followed by Muslims. Announcing the details, party supremo Mayawati said a total of 113 seats — amounting to 28% of the total 403 seats — have been given to candidates belonging to upper caste Hindus. Out of these, 66 were allocated to Brahmins — coming to around 16.4% of the total seats. Brahmins comprise about 5% of UP’s population. 36 seats went to Rajputs and Kshtriyas,…

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Mayawati warns Muslims: Akhilesh vs Mulayalam will bring BJP to power

Bahujan Samaj Party leader Kumari Mayawati has warned Muslim voters in Uttar Pradesh against continuing to vote for Samajwadi Party, claiming that the current fight between SP leader Mulayam Singh and his son Akhilesh would split their votes in two. “I urge you not to let your vote get divided between Akhilesh and Mulayalam groups. If you do that, the benefit will directly go to the BJP,” Mayawati said today. To drive home the point, Mayawati said she has allocated 97 candidates out of the total 403 candidates to the Muslim community,…

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Hindu fighting for Muslim rights alleges religious discrimination by orthodox Muslims

Sreeja Neyyattinkara, one of the state secretaries of Welfare Party in Kerala, has set off a storm among Dalit and Minority activist circles in Kerala by heavily criticizing some orthodox practices among the Muslims of the state. The criticism has come as a surprise as the Welfare Party is largely comprised of Muslim supporters and activists, and was floated five years ago to build a national coalition of minorities and Dalits. Sreeja’s outburst came after she was stopped from visiting her Muslim friend — who had lost her husband — by the…

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COLUMN: Why it’s hypocritical for Rahul Gandhi to accuse Narendra Modi of taking money from corporates

One of the interesting aspects of the current accusations and counter accusations around the alleged funding of BJP’s 2014 Lok Sabha campaign by corporate houses is the sheer hypocrisy of it. Let’s see why. According to third-party figures, an estimated Rs 23,000 cr was spent by candidates and political parties on the 2014 general election. Assuming that about 40% of this was spent by the BJP and its candidates, the saffron party’s tally comes to around Rs 9,200. The Indian National Congress and its candidates are likely to have spent about Rs…

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Rahul Gandhi’s gives ‘earthquake evidence’ on Modi

After keeping the nation waiting for 10 days, Rahul Gandhi today dropped his ‘bomb’ on Narendra Modi that he had promised would ’cause an earthquake’. Gandhi said a company based in Uttar Pradesh has written “that Modi has taken money from them multiple times over six months.” Quoting income tax investigation reports, Gandhi said: “They have written that 2.5 cr was given to Narendra Modi on October 31… nine times in six months.” However, the Congress Vice President’s allegations around big corporates paying Prime Minister Narendra Modi crores of rupees…

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Cabinet approves Salary via Bank ordinance

The Union Cabinet has approved an ordinance that empowers all employers to pay their salaries via banks unless the salary is less than Rs 18,000. This has been done to promote cashless economy, and to bring more and more of the economy into the formal sector. Salary can now have to be routed through electonic payments or cheques. It is not clear whether employers will continue to have the option of paying salaries via cash. UPDATE: It appears that the option of payment in cash will continue to be available. The…

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Demonetization: Modi announces bumper prizes; 15 lakh users to get 1,000 rupees

Narendra Modi announced several ‘prize schemes’ to promote cashless transactions. Under the schemes announced today, there will be two sets of prizes for consumers and another for small merchants. Under the first scheme, any customer who uses any electronic form of payment, including wallets and debit cards, will qualify for a ‘lucky draw’ of Rs 1,000 each. 15,000 such prizes — each amounting to Rs 1,000 — will be given out per day. This will be continued for a period of 100 days. This will start on Dec 25. In…

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Demonetization: Swaraj India says political parties could become money laundering centers

Swaraj India party today said the Income Tax department’s decision to continue to provide immunity to political parties from having to reveal their sources could turn them into money laundering centers. According to Section 13(A) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, if you have registered a political party, you can deposit any amount of money after opening an account in that party’s name. Swaraj India, which will organize a rally against black money in Delhi on Sunday, said the loophole for parties should have been plugged before or along with…

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PayTM fraud not related to wallet service

PayTM, India’s largest wallet company, has been cheated to the extent over Rs 6.15 lakh by 48 customers claiming illegal refunds for goods they already received. The fraud does not involve any leakage of money from the wallet service, but is centered around claiming illegal refunds for goods that were ordered, and received via PayTM’s online retail website and app. The complaint found that in 48 cases, customers had received their goods were also given refunds. “As a matter of facts wherein delivery of orders were successful and satisfactory to…

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Muslim Air Force men cannot grow beards – Supreme Court

The Supreme Court today upheld service rules and provisions that impose ‘clean shaven’ rules for the Indian Air Force. Dismissing a petition by a Muslim person, the court said the Air Force was well within its authority to lay down the rule prohibiting the sporting of a beard for its personnel. Many organizations, including the state police departments and central security forces, impose strict uniform and dress code guidelines on their members. Besides requiring them to wear clothes of a particular color, style and specifications, many of them also have…

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Taxes will be made “more reasonable” in cashless India – Jaitley

Taxes in India will be made more reasonable as more and more transactions switch to the cashless mode, finance minister Arun Jaitley said. “As more and more transactions are made cashless, they will come under taxation.. (and with this) taxes will be made more reasonable, both direct and indirect,” Jaitley said today. The finance minister was giving out a message aimed at the opposition parties, which have blocked Parliament for a month over the withdrawal of high-value currency notes. The statement is also the first concrete indicator that the government…

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FULL TEXT: Allahabad High Court order on Triple Talaq

Womens’ rights and equality activists have welcomed the observations of the Allahabad High Court on the institution of Triple Talaq among Muslims in India. The observations, made while disposing of the petition of a 23-year-old woman and her 53-year-old husband, have also been hailed by the BJP, several Muslim organizations and many other social and cultural organisations. However, a perusal of the written order reveals that the judgement itself will be of limited utility for those fighting for women’s rights as the observations have not been recorded in the written…

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Allahabad High Court says Triple Talaq ‘unconstitutional’

The Allahabad High Court has today said ‘triple talaq’ or the divorcing of women under Islamic laws — is unconstitutional in Indian law. The provision “violates women’s rights” and no personal law board is above the Indian constitution, the court said while hearing a petition filed by a Muslim woman from Bulandshahr. The constitution of India assures all citizens of equal rights and triple talaq, which more or less allows any man to divorce his wife by uttering ‘talaq, talaq, talaq’ is a violation of this principle. The constitution of…

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Rijiju backtracks on ‘2 cr Bangladeshi immigrants living in India’ claim?

Two weeks after claiming that around 2 cr illegal Bangladeshi immigrants are living in India, minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju seems to be backpedaling on the claim. “There is no confirmed data with regard to number of Bangladeshi citizens illegally residing in the country..” he told the Lok Sabha today, two weeks after telling the Rajya Sabha that an estimated 2 cr (20 mln) illegal immigrants from the neigbouring country are living in India. Rijiju’s earlier statement had invited strong reaction from Assam — the Indian border…

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Jayalalitha’s successor: Crucial meet starts at AIADMK headquarters

The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhakam (All India Anna Dravidian Progressive Party) started a crucial meeting of its top leadership at 6:30 PM today, minutes after the party hurriedly re-hoisted the flag on its headquarters. All the party’s MLA’s are attending the meeting. The decision to lower its flag at around 5:30 pm today had led to speculation on Tamil TV channels that Chief Minister J Jayalalitha had died. This led to scenes of emotional outbursts, and incidents of violence including stoning of buses and shops. In many areas…

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Sorrow after Tamil channels say Jayalalitha dead, AIADMK lowers flag

The AIADMK has lowered its flag at its headquarters, setting off a frenzy of sorry in Tamil Nadu as desperate followers of Chief Minister J Jayalalitha broke down in tears. UPDATE: The AIADMK has rehoisted its flag after bringing it down initially. There were wailings and sobbings around the Apollo Hospital in Chennai, where Jayalalitha is being treated for cardiac arrest. This follows some Tamil media reports that the CM was indeed no more. However, Jaya TV, controlled by the AIADMK has not given any update yet. UPDATE: The Apollo…

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